CALARIAN, Zamboanga City (DWDD) – As part of the ongoing capability upgrade and modernization, the Philippine Navy through Naval Forces Western Mindanao formerly activated Naval Station Rio Hondo at Barangay Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City, October 09, 2018.
The activation ceremony was graced by the Vice Commander, Philippine Navy, Rear Adm. Rommel Jude G Ong AFP representing the Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad AFP as the Guest of Honor and Speaker and Hon Mayor of Zamboanga City, Hon Maria Isabelle “Bong” Climaco-Salazar as sponsor. The event was also attended by Punong Barangay Rio Hondo, Hon Jinnul A Malik, officers and men of Naval Forces Western Mindanao and partner-stakeholders.
The newly-activated Naval Station will be manned by various Fleet-Marine operating units such as Naval Special Operations Unit 1 (NAVSOU 1), Combat Service Support Brigade (CSSBde), Inshore Boat Battalion (IBBN), Naval Air Unit –Western Mindanao (NAU-WM) and elements from Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, Naval Task Force 61, and Naval Forces Western Mindanao Headquarters Support Group.
Naval Station Rio Hondo was built to stand guard to the city after the infamous Zamboanga City siege on 09 September 2013. This project came as a result of the City’s efforts to maintain peace and security following the siege where hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels came into the city and infiltrated several coastal villages in the attempt to hoist their flag in the city’s seat of government, the Zamboanga City Hall.
Rear Adm. Rene V Medina AFP, the Commander NavForWem certainty that this new naval station will make a difference in addressing the security and order of Zamboanga City for this will serve as a Fleet-Marine force projection on the South Eastern coastline of Zamboanga City. Rear Adm. Medina also emphasized in his remarks that, “This is our home and we have an obligation to ensure that never again will it succumb to those who are trying to assert the greed and malice in our place. Let this activation sow the seeds of peace and prosperity in our beloved city as it brings back the confidence of the people and ensuring that your Navy and AFP as a whole would always be in the forefront to warrant their safety and well-being”
Likewise, Hon Climaco-Salazar said the activation of Naval Station Rio Hondo was dedicated to the memory of the military who fought and offered their lives in defense to Zamboanga City during the September 2013 Zamboanga siege.
Rear Adm. Ong AFP, as the GOHAS expressed, “Aligned with the Zamboanga City Road map to recovery and reconstruction, the Naval Station Rio Hondo shall play a very important and critical role in restoring and preserving the peace in the barangays and our beloved City. This Naval Station shall bring light to our people that they could redeem the lives that they lost during the siege and the livelihood that they had built before” NPAO / MCAG